St Christopher

The beautiful church of St Christopher's, built in 1360, is unique in Essex as it shares a churchyard with the older St Andrew's.

About this church

From the churchyard there are stunning views of the Essex landscape and inside the church is steeped in history to such an extent that we host many group visits. 

Expenditure of much love, care and money in recent years has brought back the beauty of St Christopher's.

The two historic churches of St Christopher and St Andrew in the rural village of Willingale are unique in Essex, sharing a churchyard that straddles the Essex Way long distance footpath. Our two churches have been used for film making, most notable for Mr Bean Two Funerals.

The churches, with stunning views over the Roding valley, and the picturesque village of Willingale, with cricket green and numerous listed buildings, is the ideal place for a quiet country day out or as a stopping point along the Essex Way.

The nave of St Christopher’s was built in 1360, tower and chancel added 15th century and the north aisle in 1853 at which time there was much restoration. The church now has modern facilities, but the heritage of the building has been respected. St Andrew's is mainly Norman, with traces of reused Roman brick, and has a pretty clapboard bell-turret and porch. The chancel is 15th century as are the belfry timbers, and there is a 14th century octagonal font. Some interesting memorials include two sad inscriptions dated 1614, in memory of children of the Rector.

Formerly the parish church of Willingale Spain, St Andrew's is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. St Christopher’s, formerly the parish church of Willingale Doe, is used for worship and various village events, it dates from the 14th century but there is evidence in legal papers that a wooden Saxon church was previously on the site. The bells of St Christopher’s were restored in 2012 and the exterior masonry restored in 2014.

The churches contain many beautiful and very interesting stained glass windows, brasses and memorials.

Local interest exhibitions are held from time to time in St. Andrew's and there is information on the USAAF 387 Bombardment Group which was stationed at Willingale Airfield during WWII. 

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Ramp or level access available on request
  • On street parking at church
  • Accessible toilets in church

Other nearby churches

RobinWebster
EssexWILLINGALESPAINStAndrew(robinwebsterCC-BY-SA2.0)1

St Andrew

Mainly Norman, with traces of reused Roman brick, St Andrew's has a pretty clapboard bell turret and porch, and shares a churchyard with the later church of St Christopher.

ChrisMorgan
EssexBLACKMOREStLaurence(chrismorganCC-BY-SA2.0)2

St Laurence

The tower of St Laurence is one of the best of its kind in the country, and is remarkable both inside and out.

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